Asus has added an ExpertBook B5 Edition, in which there are many upgrades in configuration, features aimed at the users. The business laptop with high requirements for mobility, performance, connectivity, durability, and security. So do all these claims come true or not? Let’s see in this Asus Expertbook B5 review below.
Thin and light laptops have always been popular with many users and that makes it easy to grab the attention of people. That’s why almost every laptop brand in the world represents at least some thin and light trend. Along with Asus, it used to be very famous for its ZenBook series with its thinness and weight as a “supermodel”. However, the ZenBook is primarily aimed at individual users as it lacks business-specific features.
Hence, the ExpertBook series was born. The common point of this product line is the ability to upgrade to US military standards in terms of durability, slim and lightweight design, many exclusive safety features, higher configuration, full connectivity, dual storage system, and features.
The ExpertBook B5’s design language retains the professional, minimalist identity of the ExpertBook series. Charcoal blue lid finished in aluminum alloy, whereas the keyboard and the area around the palm are made of magnesium-aluminum alloy. The Asus OLED laptop is solidly machined, giving it a sturdy, classy feel. We tried pressing hard on the case, palm rest area, and keyboard as well as rotating the device when opening or closing, and found the laptop to be pretty solid, not creaking or loose at all.
The ExpertBook B5 continues to meet the US military MIL-STD 810H durability standard with shock and impact resistance, operating in harsh environments with high temperature, humidity, and pressure. The laptop announced by Asus can withstand drops from a height of 120 cm, the keyboard part has a spill-proof feature, can withstand about 66 ml of water without damage.
With a size of only 13.3 inches, the device is actually very compact. The weight of the laptop is only 1kg, the same thickness is 16.9mm. We’re using the 14-inch LG Gram that weighs less than 1kg, but we were still impressed with the compactness of the Asus ExpertBook B5. It is clean and lightweight to carry in a backpack or crossbody bag, as the machine does not take up much space, weight and is very sturdy. We can easily hold the laptop for long periods with one hand, hover over the touchpad with the other hand, or even type without any hassle.
The front surface has the ExpertBook logo in the upper-right corner with a status LED light. This light will turn red when you are using video calling or voice calling on an online meeting program such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, or Teams.
According to Asus, this indicator light will help nearby colleagues to know that you are busy in a meeting or talking with customers, and will limit bothering you in the middle. We actually tested it, every program that uses the mic will be colored red, and it is also a good way for you to check if you are being hidden or not.
An unfortunate point in the ExpertBook B5’s design is that it’s impossible to open the laptop with one hand because the hinge is too solid and doesn’t support the hinge mechanism.
It’s thin and light, but the connection ports on the ExpertBook B5 are still quite rich, not as low as other compact laptop models. Especially, the laptop has 2 Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports with 40Gbps bandwidth, both transmitting data, outputting 4K audio and images, and charging the battery. Other than this, there’s 1 HDMI 2.0b port and 1 micro HDMI port for a Gigabit RJ45 wired network connection when combined with the included adapter cable in the box.
The remaining connection ports include 1 USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 1 3.5mm combo mic/headphone audio jack. Of course, wireless connections like Wi-Fi 6 ax, Bluetooth 5.0 are also fully present. With 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports and 1 HDMI 2.0b port, according to Asus, the ExpertBook B5 allows for outputting images to 3 4K screens at the same time, when you need maximum multitasking.
One interesting thing to note is that the ExpertBook B5’s power button is located on the right side instead of the keyboard area. Probably because the B5 has an additional Flip version with a touch screen that can be used as a tablet, leaving the power key next to it will make it convenient to turn on the device or flip the screen upside down, even when used as a laptop or tablet mode.
Aside from the awkward situation, the Power key of the laprtop is also integrated with a fingerprint sensor like some current smartphones. Fingerprint recognition speed is fast and accurate, thereby, Windows login becomes very convenient, without having to type a password. Although Asus has made the edges around the power button slightly concave, it is still a bit difficult to manipulate as the surface of the power button is smooth. We hope that in the next version, Asus will give a rough texture to the power button, and will concave it a bit more to make it easier to recognize.
Asus ExpertBook B5 has only a 13.3-inch screen, and, at first, we found this size to be a bit small as we were used to using laptops with screens of 14 inches or more. However, after about a week of experience, we started getting used to it, also adjusting Windows’ DPI level to 125% (default 150%), everything was fine.
Of course, if Asus made the screen in the more trending 16:10 ratio instead of the traditional 16:9, 16:10 ratio, thinner borders, and slightly thicker borders like today, so the notebook will have a huge, and attractive display area. Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution is enough to give sharp images. Anti-glare instead of mirror screen Anti-glare is a big plus in limiting screen reflections, especially when light is shining directly on the screen.
The screen can be opened at a maximum angle of 180 degrees, convenient when it is necessary to change the viewing angle to suit different locations or when it is necessary to exchange work with the opposite person. The ability to show 100% sRGB color gamut provides bright colors, good contrast, wide viewing angles.
The drawback is that the screen brightness is a bit low, only 300nits, we usually have to leave the screen between 80% and 100% to use it. The screen is more suitable for working indoors, bringing it outside will be quite dark and difficult to see.
Speakers and webcam
The laptop has two speakers placed at the bottom for adequate volume and basic quality, which is enough for online meetings. It is not an entertainment-oriented laptop, that’s why it’s hard to ask for more great speaker quality. It is worth noting that Asus is equipped with Asus AI noise-canceling two-way de-stabilization technology, which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to remove noise for both the speaker and mic on the ExpertBook B5.
This feature allows for noise cancellation on both you and the person on the other end of the line. When we tried it on our Asus Expertbook B5 review unit, it was true that the AI noise-canceling filter cleans up the noise, even the music while listening to the song, keeping only the voice of the singer in mind. The fan sound and keyboard typing are also effectively filtered out. You can quickly turn on this noise cancellation on the keyboard via a dedicated shortcut, which is quite convenient.
In addition to 2-way noise cancellation for speaker and mic, Asus comes equipped with 3D noise cancellation technology integrated into the ExpertBook B5’s HD webcam to improve image quality in many different lighting conditions. The webcam comes with a physical cover, which ensures the protection of the user’s personal image, limits the ability to reveal sensitive images, especially useful when working from home.
Still, it’s hard for Asus to even surpass the laws of physics, the 1MP HD webcam on this laptop is still just average quality. Images obtained even in a room full of light were blurry and noisy. This webcam also does not have an infrared sensor for Windows Hello face unlock.
Keyboard and touchpad
Despite its small size, the ExpertBook B5 still has a big keyboard made in full size with good buoyancy, which provides a pleasant typing experience. The ErgoLift hinge automatically tilts the keyboard about 15 degrees for a more comfortable typing position.
The keyboard has a spill-proof feature, can withstand 66ml of liquid without damage, so you can rest assured if you accidentally spill water here. The keyboard backlight with a single color LED, the brightness is good enough to work in the evening without turning on too many desk lights.
The touchpad has a comfortable size, good sensitivity, and continues to be equipped with the NumberPad 2.0 virtual numeric keypad by Asus for serving items or entering data. If you turn on these virtual number keys, you can still hover normally, which is great.
However, we find that when we turn on the virtual key and move the mouse, so there will be a certain delay while manipulating the mouse, and this virtual key is not handwritten. If Asus comes equipped with more pressure sensors or vibrations, we think it will be more stable.
In terms of processing power, our Asus ExpertBook B5 review unit has the following specifications:
- CPU: Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 4 cores 8 threads, 2.4GHz base clock, 4.2GHz max turbo, 8MB cache, TDP max 28W.
- Memory: 8GB RAM LPDDR4X 3200 MHz hard-mounted, with 1 separate RAM slot for an upgrade, maximum support 48GB RAM
- Storage: 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD, with 1 discrete M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD slot for upgrade
- GPU: Intel Iris Xe integrated GPU 1.30 GHz
This configuration is enough for the ExpertBook B5 to handle your daily tasks with ease such as browsing the web with around 20 tabs, opening Word and Lightroom in parallel, composing documents, basic photo or video editing with Premiere Pro when required to do so.
Large capacity tables and processing of data are also not a problem. Booting, closing, opening, and closing apps is super fast, thanks to a standard PCIe SSD. The laptop remains quite cool even when doing heavy work continuously. However, when we plugged in and used the charger, the device was a bit hot around the charging port area.
CPU scores from familiar software like Cinebech R23 or Geekbench 5 outperform the Intel Core i5-1135G7’s decent performance, especially multi-core performance. Of course, the amount of 8GB of RAM will be a bit lacking when multitasking is needed. You can upgrade to about 16GB of RAM, even 48GB for “comfort”. The laptop is also ready to upgrade to Windows 11, so if you want, you can update to experience the new features. The ExpertBook B5 also has other configuration options with i3 or i7 chips, more RAM, or dual SSD.
All the benchmarks below were performed on Windows 10 to ensure stability.
Also, when you need to run heavy tasks like excel, so Asus offers a performance mode with the My Asus app, you should enable this feature so that the device can run at full speed.
The upgradeability of the ExpertBook B5 is quite impressive when it comes to the 1 M.2 SSD hard drive slot and 1 empty RAM slot that supports upgrading to a maximum of 48GB. Upgrading the laptop is fairly simple while removing the bottom surface. Asus uses a very common 4-sided screw, so you won’t need complicated screwdrivers. However, the distributor has stamped some of the screws, so in order not to lose the warranty, you need to contact the technical staff of the company.
In terms of battery life, Asus claims that the ExpertBook B5 offers up to 14 hours of battery life. The device supports fast charging, allowing 60% of the battery to be charged in 39 minutes. We learned that the device has two battery capacity options, 33WHr and 66WHr. Our Asus ExpertBook B5 review unit has a battery capacity of only 33WHr and is quite low.
During the Asus Expertbook B5 review, we surfed the web with about 10 tabs open, and open Word to edit documents, with Windows’ improved battery mode being On, and the screen brightness was about 60%, then it lasted only for 4-5 hours.
Perhaps the 66WHr version with double the battery capacity will offer a better life. Compensating somewhat, the fast charger is exactly what Asus claims. It comes with a compact 65W Type C charger which can charge 60% battery in just 39 minutes, and fully charge the battery up to 100% in about an hour and a half.
For businesses, Asus offers a variety of hardware and software solutions to enhance security, suitable for business users, such as TPM 2.0 chip to help store and protect authentication information (such as passwords and encrypted keys) used by operating systems and applications to ensure the security of information and transactions and optimize for device management in the enterprise. Kensington lock is also there. The exclusive ASUS Business Manager application allows to manage all ports and encrypts drive data.
Thin, lightweight, highly portable, while still ensuring strong performance, durability, and diverse connectivity, the Asus ExpertBook B5 shows it’s a potential business laptop model. Asus introduced an affordable laptop model with many attractive features which will help most of the businesses in this covid era. The point at which the ExpertBook B5 needs to improve the most is the 33WHr version’s battery life. At the same time, the company should soon switch to a 16:10 screen to further optimize the work.
As for the standard ExpertBook B5 aimed at project and business customers, the price will vary depending on the order configuration. It is listed on Amazon.com for $1,172.11 with Intel Core i5-1135G7, 512GB SSD, and 16GB RAM. And yes, don’t forget to comment below, how did you like this Asus ExpertBook B5 review?
- Slim, neat, sturdy case and chassis
- Full necessary connection ports
- Fast performance, easy upgrade
- 2-way noise cancellation for speakers and mic
- Comfortable keyboard, touchpad, with virtual Numpad for convenient input
- The device is a bit difficult to open with one hand
- The power button is smooth, difficult to distinguish from the surrounding edge when using fingerprints
- The battery of the 33WHr version is low, only 4-5 hours
- No Windows Hello face unlock
- The screen still uses the 16: 9 aspect ratio and brightness is a bit low